Korea Aerospace Industries has conducted the first flight of its Korea Utility Helicopter (KUH), which it developed with Eurocopter.

Also known as the Surion, the KUH achieved the milestone on 10 March at an airbase in Sacheon, south-east of Seoul.

Two test pilots and an engineer manoeuvred the 8.7t aircraft through taxi, hover and hover turns, says KAI. The aircraft also performed a stationary hover at 30ft (9.1m), it adds.

 KUH debut 1 - KAI

KUH flight 2 - KAI

Both images © Korea Aerospace Industries

Full-scale flight testing will start in May, with production of the transport due to start late this year. The new model is designed to replace South Korea's ageing Bell UH-1Hs and MD Helicopters MD500s.

KAI and Eurocopter have also formed a joint-venture to market the KUH overseas. The aircraft can carry two pilots and up to 11 troops, and has a top speed of 130kt (240km/h).

Source: Flight International